Self Discovery -Opening the Door to Self-realization

Extended Personality

by Jayaram V

Set aside everything that seems too mystical or mysterious. Empty your mind of all notions about immortality, heaven, the gods and God, truths that you cannot validate other than through scriptures.

In your search for truth, knowledge, especially the learned kind, is an impediment. Therefore, keep your mind free from the affectations of intellectuality and the deformities of social conditioning.

Your physical and subtle bodies

In that cultivated emptiness and silence, taking shelter in innocence and humility, begin to pay attention to your own body, its various parts, its movements and activities. You can practice this in five stages.

1. Pay attention to your physical body, the organs of actions, the openings in your body, physical sensations, and the pain and pleasure you experience when you establish physical contact with the external world. Observe how your body undergoes the modifications of aging, sickness and eventually death. Imagine how your body will eventually die and return to the elemental world. Remember that your body is a sacred creation. It may contain the impurities of gunas. Yet it is your vehicle of existence. It supports your actions and movements and bears the burden of your karma/ Meditate upon the notion that your body is a replica of the body the Cosmic Self and it is the microcosm representing the entire creation. This is the body meditation.

2. Pay attention to your breath. Observe how you are connected to the world and the region of space through inhalation and exhalation. Notice how your breath circulates in your body during your exhalation and inhalation and keeps it alive and energized. Imagine the five channels in your body through which your breath flows and how they are connected to the various parts of your body. Practice different breathing patterns to know how your breath effects your mental states and how you can literally prolong the silence of your mind by withholding your breath. Meditate upon the fact that your breath is superior to all the organs in the body because it is incorruptible and its work is not influenced by your will, intention or desire. Through inhalation and exhalation, your breath extends you until the end of the mid-region. This is meditation upon breath.

3. Pay attention to each of your five senses individually, their location and their actions. Observe how they are oriented outwardly and connect you to the external world. Understand how your senses dwell upon various objects and invoke in your various perceptions, desires and attachments. Think of the attachments you formed because of their activity and how those attachments compel you to act in certain habitual ways and lead to your bondage and suffering. Analyze how each of your senses is associated with a specific element and divinity and how those elements and divinities influence their movements and actions. Meditate upon the fact that while your organs of actions have limited reach, your mind and senses can go as far as you can see, hear, shout, smell, feel, taste and think. Through their outward movements, your senses not only extend you into the infinite universe but also connect you with many things, widening your reach and field of activity.

4. Pay attention to your mind and its movements. Observe how your mind is always in a state of flux, how your thoughts, emotions, feeling's rise and fall, what triggers them and how your mind reacts to various external and internal situations. Notice how your mind connects you to the external world through the senses and recreates parts of it within your own consciousness. Meditate upon the faculties of the mind including, reason, intuition and creativity and how you made choices in the past, using them. Meditate upon how with imagination and visualization you can manifest worlds and things. Focus upon both positive and negative emotions, what triggers them and how they influence your thoughts and actions. You mind travels faster than your perceptions and farther than them. With your mind you can travel to distant parts of the universe instantly. Know how your mind can transcend the limitations of time and space and extend your reach.

5. Pay attention to the space inside you. Experience the emptiness that pervades your body. Center yourself in that emptiness, feel it and experience it. See how that emptiness not only pervades your body but also extends beyond it into the infinite space outside. That space is formless, invisible, all pervading, without qualities and divisions. It is hidden in all and envelops all. Become that emptiness and feel oneness with the entire universe. Your subtle body made up of space is the innermost body of yours. It is infinity in itself, and it is closest to the inner Self that exists in you. Experience that space, its infinity, silence, stability and peace.

The five worlds in you

There are five worlds inside you. To know the deeper aspects of yourself, you should meditate upon them successively. The five worlds are:

1. The physical or material world. Your body and bodily organs, including the sense organs, made up of the five elements constitute your world of names and forms. Just as your body has a name and form, so also all the parts in your body. Your world of names and forms extend as far as your organs of actions and sense organs can reach.

2. The breath world. The breath that circulates in your body through the five channels constitutes your breath world. The five breaths are Prana, the incoming breath, Apana, the downward breath, Samana, the equalizing breath, Vyana, the diffused breath and Udana the upward breath. Your world of breath extends until the end of the mid-region in which air circulates.

3. Mental world. Your lower mind, ego, thoughts, memories, consciousness, feelings, emotions, imagination, and dreams constitute your mental world. It extends as far as your thoughts go.

4. Intelligence world. Your higher mind, discretion, reason, intelligence, and the higher faculties of your mind constitute your intelligence world. It extends as far as you can communicate with the higher divinities in the subtle planes of your consciousness in deeper meditative states.

5. Bliss world. You enter this world only in deep sleep or in a state of self-absorption. Since neither your mind nor your sense can reach it, you do not experience in your wakeful state. This is the transcendental world, which is infinite, indestructible, stable and eternal. In this state, you are one with your eternal Self.

Becoming aware of your center and circumferance

The sum total of the awareness and knowledge you acquire out of these mindful explorations of your physical and subtle bodies, prepare you well for your liberation. These aspects of your mind and body constitute your core being. Through austerities and the practice of yoga you will realize that you are not just your body and brain, but the sum total of all your gross, subtle and spiritual selves.

Together they constitute your personality, of which you subtle body made up of breath, mind and intelligence is hard to define, invisible and largely unknown. Still it is a part of you and within the field of your experience. While your organs of actions have limited reach, your mind and senses can go as far as you can see, hear, shout, smell, feel, taste and think. These experiences not only extend you into the infinite universe but also connect you with many things, widening your reach and field of activity. In your expansive state, you cannot say you are just a name and form. You are a being with a center and circumference that stretches out into the objective world through the mind and the senses.

This is also your extended personality, but created by the mind rather than the sense. It is the deeper dimension of the extended personality, which extends you farther into the world than the senses do. It extends into the external world, through your own thoughts, desires, feelings, emotions and attachments.

You have to know about this aspect of your extended personality in greater depth, before you go farther, especially the way it extends you into the external world, the desires it creates and sustains and the illusions and attachments it forms in the pit of your own consciousness. You cannot explore the external world beyond a point. However, in your inward journey through concentration, meditation and self-absorption you can reach the center of your being and become one with your inner Self. In that state you will realize that you are the center of everything with no circumference. While you may have name and form, your essential nature is infinite, eternal and indestructible. You become vast as space and as stable as the silence of the deep space.

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